DivX: the web’s favourite codec reviewed

divxlogo1.pngIf you’re a regular PC user and haven’t heard of DivX yet, then you’ve probably had your head in the sand for the past couple of years. It’s basically a highly compressed film format that turns the size of an average DVD from something like 5GB to just 700MB.

DivX for Windows is the official release from the DivX company, and offers everything you need to watch such films. The pack includes the all-important DivX Codec plus DivX Player, DivX Web Player and the Stage6 Content Uploader Utility for those who plan to rip and upload DVDs or other videos to the net. It also includes a 15-day trial of the DivX Converter and the DivX Pro Codec. All these components are free and include no adware although during the installation, you are offered the chance to install the Google toolbar.

The player itself is sleek and easy to use. It’s got all the standard functions of a DVD player plus the option of different skins from the DivX website. If you want to create your own DivX content, the converter allows the creation of video resolutions up to and including 1920 x 1080 High Definition in either interlaced or progressive-scan. It also supports advanced DVD features such as scene selection menus, subtitles and alternate audio tracks. It includes a download manager that allows you to download several videos at once, pause and resume downloads and playback video. Those who do their downloading of DivX films with P2P apps won’t use this much but others will find it more useful. The latest release of DivX Player also includes an uploader which enables you to easily publish media to the Stage6 media community website.

There’s little to criticise in DivX for Windows except for the converter. It can be particularly useful if you are trying to burn a downloaded DivX film onto a DVD to play on a standalone DVD player. Watching DivX files on your PC is usually not a problem but some people have issues when watching them on a standalone DVD Player. The converter solves this by taking any video file and producing a perfectly clean DivX film at the end of it. However, this feature is painfully slow and takes hours to complete just one film. Bearing in mind that you also have to pay for it after the 15-day trial period has expired, you’ll soon be looking for other converters to use such as BPS Video converter or VSO ConvertX.

Overall, this is an excellent DivX player and since it’s released by the official DivX company, you’ll have no worries about dodgy codecs ruining playback on your PC.

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